WATCHING AND WANTING
Tony finally accepts something he'd been trying to deny. However, he wasn't sure what, if anything, he could do about it.
A first time story.
Written: February 2013. Word count: 3,165.
Tony leaned back in his chair and stretched his arms up over his head. It had been a long morning, not that it had been any longer than any other morning, but they'd all been squad room bound from the moment they'd arrived - and not only squad room bound but paperwork bound. Paperwork had never been his favorite thing and he'd been putting of doing the non-essential stuff for far too long, as such he had a lot more to do than either McGee or Ziva - both who always did their paperwork straight away.
He sighed and let his gaze wander across the room and come to rest on McGee who was staring at his computer screen, as he'd been doing all morning, his fingers flying over the keyboard without him ever looking down. He was clearly deep in thought and completely involved in whatever it was he was doing. Tony had heard Gibbs tell McGee what he wanted him to do, but he hadn't really paid attention - it would have been something geeky, something that he couldn't understand. But whatever it was, it was holding McGee's full attention, Tony doubted anything could interrupt him - not even if he got up, went across the room and kissed him.
Tony started in his chair, jumping so much he nearly fell out of it, and looked around him quickly, hoping no one had seen him - apparently no one had. Where the hell had that thought come from? He no more wanted to kiss McGee than . . . Than he wanted to . . . Than he wanted to run naked through the squad room!
As he saw Gibbs frown at something on his computer and look up, Tony hastily looked back down at his desk. "Hey, McGee," Gibbs called.
"Yes, boss?" McGee turned to look at Gibbs. So he hadn't been so deeply engrossed in whatever it was he'd been doing after all. Mind you, Tony sometimes thought if he was in hell or in a deep coma if Gibbs called his name, he'd answer.
"What does 'ergonomics' mean?"
Tony sighed; why did Gibbs always have to ask McGee things? Why couldn't he ask him - or just ask generally? Why was it always McGee? And why was McGee looking so pleased; he always looked pleased when Gibbs spoke to him - why didn't he always looked pleased when Tony spoke to him?
McGee blinked and then said, "It's the branch of engineering science whereby biological science is used to study the relation between workers and their environments, boss."
Tony frowned. "I thought it was to do with chairs," he said. "You know ergonomic chairs the ones that support you in all the right places. Like these," and he turned his computer round to show a page of chairs."
"Er, yes, Tony," McGee said, after glancing at Gibbs. "Chairs and other office equipment are kind of part of it as they are part of our working environment, but it's more than just that."
"Oh," Tony said and turned his computer back around. "Sorry."
"Why did you want to know, boss?" McGee asked.
"Because of this email telling me some woman or other is coming here to conduct an ergonomic study. What's the point?"
"Er," McGee said glancing at Tony who just shrugged; he was with the boss, he didn't see the point either. "When is she coming, boss?"
Gibbs frowned at his screen. "Tomorrow," he said, "apparently she'll be here at exactly nine o'clock."
"That is rather short notice," Ziva said. "I am surprised she did not give us more notice."
Gibbs turned and glared at Ziva. Tony knew that particular glare: it meant that Gibbs had once again failed to read his email and that the email had been sitting there for a week, maybe two. After staring a Ziva for a moment or two, Gibbs turned to McGee. "Come here, McGee. Need you to do your thing."
McGee stood up and hurried over to Gibbs's desk. "My thing, boss?"
Gibbs nodded. "Yeah, well one of them. Words - they're your thing. Need you to reply to her and tell her tomorrow's not suitable and tell her our relationship with our environment is fine, so she doesn't need to waste her time coming here as there's nothing to study. Tell her we've got chairs and stuff and no one does anything dangerous."
McGee stared at him and blinked. "Why me, boss?" he asked and that was another thing which was unfair; whenever Tony dared to question Gibbs, Gibbs head-slapped him or glared at him or snapped at him. But if McGee questioned him, Gibbs always answered - it really wasn't fair. He was meant to be the favorite field agent, not McGee. And McGee liked Gibbs more than he liked Tony, which also wasn't fair. Again he started, jolting his chair - where had that come from? Why did Tony care whether McGee liked Gibbs more than he liked Tony? He didn't.
"Words, McGee. You do words. I'll just tell her to get lost and then she'll turn up anyway. But if you explain in your way she'll know she doesn't need to come. After all you did study biomedical engineering at John Hopkins. It's got to be kind of similar - language-wise at least."
McGee looked at Gibbs, "Well, yes, boss, there are -"
"Knew you could do it." And with that Gibbs stood up and pushed McGee into the chair. "I'll get coffee," he said, striding away.
McGee sat for a moment his fingers poised over the keyboard just staring at the screen, a frown creasing his forehead; his tip of his tongue suddenly appeared at the side of his mouth and Tony found himself staring at it and - Suddenly the frown and the tip of his tongue vanished and he smiled and began to type at a furious rate which Tony could only admire.
Gibbs returned with coffee for, to Tony's surprise, all four of them. He gave Tony and Ziva theirs before returning to his desk where he put McGee's down and then leaned over McGee to read what he had written. Tony watched them; Gibbs's head was close to Tim's, he had one hand on Tim's shoulder and was all but draped over him.
It wasn't fair; how come Gibbs got to touch McGee, be so close to McGee and Tony didn't? This time he didn't start; this time he finally accepted that somehow he'd gone from seeing McGee as a nobody who was there simply for him to tease and belittle, to seeing him as a younger brother who he could tease and belittle, to seeing him as a friend who he could tease and belittle in the way only friends could belittle, to seeing him as someone he wanted to kiss, touch and -
But it would never happen. It never could happen. And not because of Rule #12, but because McGee would never like him like in that way. Even if McGee liked guys as well as girls, and Tony was fairly certain he did, he wouldn't, he couldn't like Tony like that. Tony wasn't his type.
"Good job, Tim," Gibbs said, patting McGee's shoulder and straightening up.
"I don't know if it will work, boss," McGee replied quickly.
Gibbs shrugged. "Not you fault if doesn't."
The next day the woman who had emailed Gibbs arrived as promised.
Tony arrived to find her sitting with McGee at his desk, they both had coffee in front of them and were deeply engrossed in conversation - Tony caught a few of the words as he walked by, but didn't understand any of them.
As he pulled his coat off and put it down he found himself staring at McGee and whatever her name was and the more he looked at them, the more he found himself disliking her intensely. Given she was female, had a great figure (even if he couldn't see much given she was sitting down) dark hair and eyes, a perfect porcelain skin, a mouth than cried out to be kissed, in the right age range and breathing, it was quite a revelation to him. He dragged his gaze away from them, groaned under his breath, sat down at his desk and put his head in his hands. It appeared he really did have it bad.
"Is something the matter, Tony?"
He jumped and lifted his head to see Ziva standing by his desk with a look of concern on her face. He shook his head. "No, I'm good."
She stared at him, her look telling him she didn't quite believe him. He found his gaze had once more wandered to where McGee and the woman sat, he was sure their heads were closer together than they had been a few minutes before. "I do believe," Ziva said softly, sitting on the edge of Tony's desk, "that McGee may have found his soul mate."
"What?" Tony exclaimed, causing McGee and the woman to pause in their conversation and glance at him. He gave McGee a weak smile and nodded at the woman who smiled back at him, letting her gaze linger for no more than a second before she looked back at McGee - and the way she looked at McGee was nothing like the polite way she'd looked at Tony - and they began to talk again. "What do you mean?" he hissed to Ziva.
She shrugged. "Just that I do not believe I have ever seen McGee quite so," she paused for a moment and frowned a little, "animated and relaxed around a woman. They clearly speak the same language so . . ." She trailed off.
Tony shook his head. "No, McGee's not interested in her," he said.
Ziva widened her eyes. "How can you say that? Look at them; look at McGee's face."
"He's just being nice," Tony said. "I bet Gibbs was his usual charming self to her, so McGee's trying to make up for him."
Ziva stared at him. "Well," she said slowly. "You cannot deny that she is most definitely interested in McGee."
Tony forced himself to look at Tim and the woman again. No, he couldn't deny that; no matter how much he might like to, he couldn't deny what was so clear for everyone to see. And like it or not, Ziva was right about one thing at least: clearly the woman and McGee did speak the same language - a langue he'd never be able to speak.
Unwilling to admit what was under his nose he said instead, "Where is the boss?"
"With Director Vance. Apparently Dr. Clyde wishes to accompany us on a case, so that she can see us in our non-office-based working environment."
"Bet Gibbs doesn't want that."
Ziva frowned a little and said, "Actually, he seemed to think it was a good idea."
"Huh? How come?"
Ziva shrugged. "I do not know. Maybe it is because Dr. Clyde as well as talking McGee's language had a grandfather who was not only a Marine but also built his own boat. And she didn't try to - what is the word? Boombangle?"
Tony blinked. "Bamboozle?"
"That is it. She did not try to bamboozle Gibbs with science or geek talk."
"How long's she been here?"
"She was already here when I arrived which was twenty minutes ago."
"Great. So what's she got in common with you?"
Ziva smiled. "Actually, apart from being introduced briefly to her, I have not spoken to her." Then she looked at Tony again and frowned as she said quietly, "Are you quite certain nothing is wrong, Tony?"
"No! I mean, yes. I'm good, Ziva. Why do you keep asking?"
"Well, you have now been here for five minutes, Dr. Clyde is very attractive, she's female, almost certainly under thirty and breathing and you have not gone to talk to her and used the 'Tony DiNozzo charm' on her."
"I didn't want to interrupt," Tony said thinking quickly.
"Now I really do believe something is wrong with you. Since when have you bothered about such things?"
"Good question. But I've got an even better one: haven't you two got any work to do?"
"Yes, boss," Tony said swiftly, belatedly turning his computer on.
"I have," Ziva said, turning and hurrying back to her desk.
The day was long. The day was very long - at least it seemed like it to Tony. Dr. Clyde (Tony still hadn't found out her first name) and McGee seemed inseparable. Even when they went out to follow up on some leads, Tony and Ziva went together and she went with Gibbs and McGee.
By the end of the day Tony's head was aching and he was tired of looking up and seeing McGee and Dr. Clyde talking, laughing, smiling at one another - even finishing one another's sentences. He wondered if her visit was only for the one day or if she'd be there again in the morning. He got his answer almost immediately.
She stood up said something in a low voice to McGee that made him blush a little which made Tony grind his teeth, went over to Gibbs and held out her hand. "Thank you, Agent Gibbs," she said, "for accommodating me today, it has been very informative."
Gibbs stood up and shook her hand. "Our pleasure, Doctor," he said. "Did you get what you wanted for your study or whatever it was?"
She nodded. "Yes, thank you. Normally I would have to stay for several days, but thanks to Timothy, Agent McGee," she corrected herself quickly, "and his knowledge of our line of work as well as observing you and the rest of your team, I do indeed have what I need."
"Glad to hear it." Gibbs nodded.
"Goodbye then, Agent Gibbs."
"Goodbye, Dr. Clyde."
She smiled then turned around. "Ziva, Tony - thank you for your patience." Ziva smiled back and Tony just nodded. She then headed back to McGee's desk, where she picked up her coat, put it over her arm and put her briefcase on McGee's desk as she held out her hand. "Thank you, Timothy, for all your assistance - I really wouldn't have got even half of what I needed if you hadn't been here."
McGee shook her hand. "I'm glad to have been of help," he said.
Tony saw McGee let go of Dr. Clyde's hand but she held on a little longer and went on gazing into his eyes. "I wondered if you would be interested in going out for a drink, tonight?" she asked her voice low.
Tony held his breath. McGee became a little flustered and his cheeks grew a slightly red. "I'm sorry, but I've already got plans for tonight, Hazel," he said.
"Oh," her voice betrayed her disappointment.
Tony forced himself not to grin or punch the air with happiness. "Yes. Tony and I are going out." They were? Tony blinked and then as she turned to look at him, a frown spoiling her forehead, he grinned at her and shrugged.
"Oh," she said and then looked back at McGee. "Oh! Oh. I - Thank you again, Timothy. I really do appreciate your help. I'll send you a copy of my report. Now I really do have to go. Goodbye," and with that she turned and hurried away.
Tony just stared after her; somehow he got the impression he'd missed something. Ziva was pulling her coat on and murmuring something under her breath in Arabic before she turned and said, "Goodnight."
"Night, Ziva," McGee called.
"Have a good one," Tony said and with a smile at each of them Ziva left too. Tony suddenly realized Gibbs had, at some point, vanished and so only he and McGee were left in their area of the squad room.
"I'm sorry about that, Tony," McGee said, coming to stand in front of Tony's desk. He looked more than a little nervous and again his cheeks were flushed.
"Huh?" Tony said. "Talk sense, McGee. Oh," he said suddenly, "you mean telling her we were going out for a drink. Not a problem. Didn't you like her? She liked you." He asked the question without really meaning to and held his breath and crossed his fingers as he waited for McGee to answer.
McGee's cheeks grew even pinker. "I know," he said. "And, yes, as a scientist I liked her, I really enjoyed talking to her and helping her; sometimes I miss . . . .Well, it's been a fun day. But other than that, no I didn't like her." Tony hid a grin and again fought the urge to punch the air. "But that wasn't quite what I meant when I said I was sorry."
Tony stared at him. "No?"
"No. You see, Tony, I let her think that . . ." McGee trailed off.
Tony just went on staring at him and then it hit him. "Oh," he said, "you mean she thought that you and me were," he swallowed hard and discreetly wiped his palms on his trousers, "together?"
McGee nodded and again looked uneasy. "Yes. I am sorry, Tony."
"Donít be," Tony said without thinking about it. "I mean -" He swallowed hard. "You donít have to be sorry."
McGee's eyes widened as he stared at Tony. He took a step or two nearer to Tony's desk. "Tony?"
"Are you . . . Are you . . . Are you trying to say . . . ?"
"Yeah. Apparently I am."
"You mean you want to . . . ?"
"Yeah. I do."
"Well, you're the one who told Dr. Clyde we were going out."
"I did, didn't I?"
"And lying to someone is never a good thing, right?"
Tony grinned. "Right."
A FEW HOURS LATER
After diner and several drinks they went back to McGee's apartment.
It had been a great evening, Tony honestly couldn't remember an evening he'd enjoyed more. They'd flirted quite naturally with one another, teased one another, laughed together, talked about things Tony hadn't even realized he knew so much about. Tony had told McGee a few things about his childhood he'd never told anyone before and McGee told him why his dad hated NCIS so much.
"I really enjoyed tonight, Tony," McGee said softly as he stared at Tony.
McGee swallowed. "Do you want to -"
"Kiss you?" McGee nodded. "Yeah, I do. Do you want me to?" McGee nodded again as they just went on staring at one another for a few more moments until as one they moved into one another's personal space and Tony found his arms were around McGee and his mouth was on McGee's and they were kissing.
He was kissing a man and not just any man he was kissing Timothy McGee. He didn't have to watch and want any longer; he had.
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